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National is urging the Government to defer the minimum wage increase on 1 April in light of growing economic uncertainty due to coronavirus, Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says.

“Businesses are facing substantial cost increases when the minimum wage goes up on 1 April. With many industries already feeling the pain of the coronavirus outbreak, this additional cost will hit them hard.

“We are urging the Government to defer the increase for six months while we reassess its affordability during this fast-developing economic situation.

“ANZ’s chief economist has said it’s a “no-brainer” to scrap this year’s increase.

“Minimum wage has increased 12 per cent since 2017, and the 1 April 2020 increase would take it to a 20 per cent increase in three years.  

“Everyone wants to see higher incomes, but governments need to be responsive to the realities on the ground.  Many businesses are struggling to keep employing workers right now which should be the priority.

“When National was in Government we took decisive action following the Canterbury earthquakes, the Kaikoura earthquake and the Global Financial Crisis.

“Only National has the track record and the capability to deliver when times are tough.”

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